First, the basics: from it’s humble beginning as a single school in Sakae twenty years ago, No Borders has grown to have to have over 65 staff, of which over 20 are foreign. With a total of five preschools, three kindergartens and an after school program and contracts at over 20 schools throughout Chubu, it is a force to be reckoned with.
NBIS aims to bring together it’s own community with events for all ages:
Optional yoga classes for parents, English classes for moms and dads, mommies lunches, as well as Karate, ballet, and swimming classes for kids, and many other activities on a weekly basis.
“I realized there were many great schools in this area and in wanting to design a program that offered more than just education, we came up with ‘community center’ style of school. Our parents are friends, not only customers. We go out together, we offer many attractive extra curricular activities involving the parents.
We believe that educations starts at school, but finishes at home. We constantly work with our families to better develop the school and tailor our program to meet their needs.” – K.G.
I visited when some girls were doing their ballet class in English, and:
A) I was genuinely (as opposed to “this is something I’m making up for NAGMAG to make the school sound good”) surprised at how good their English was.
B) there are two faces kids make that adults (usually) don’t: The “this is the most boring thing ever” face they get when you’re at a mom-and-dad restaurant and the iPhone’s battery is flat. The second is their pure, unadulterated “fun” face. The girls had their fun face on.
In my opinion, that’s the highest praise any school could receive.
What really sets No Borders apart from your typical English teaching gig is how the company treats it’s teachers, and it’s good news.
Upon becoming the schools director, Kenn’s first task was to smooth out the kinks between the Japanese side of the company and the foreign side. Japanese-style companies are rule-bound and rigid, to say the least. Having a boss who understands what it’s like to be a foreigner in Japan is good. Having one who has the authority to actually help you out instead of just passing on edicts from the “real” boss is even better:
“Our philosophy at No Borders is to maintain a happy work environment. We have several employee events, overnight camping trips, beach trips and of course the normal weekly / monthly dinner with friends. We truly have accomplished a sense of team and family.” – K.G.
“After seeing how many other international schools operate, I must say that No Borders has a feeling of family like no other. NBIS not only cares for the students, but also cares deeply for the teachers who work here. Teachers are allowed a fair amount of freedom to explore their own teaching styles, while maintaining a structured curriculum.
There is a lot of love at NBIS and I think that is something that a lot of other schools tend to overlook.”
“People come to international schools for many reasons, not only English. My team is dedicated, creative and passionate. I learn from them everyday. And the parents recognize that. Our teachers (both Japanese and foreign) are our tangible goods, they are what we sell and I am confident we have an amazing product.
We are not perfect, still growing, still learning and changing, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.”
“I was raised in a multicultural family; my mom is Filipino-Spanish and my dad is Japanese so teaching English was a pretty obvious career path for me.
At first I taught business English for a big eikaiwa company here but it got old really fast. I have a natural love for children especially those seeking to acquire a second language because I was in the same position when I was a kid; they raise you to at least be bilingual (Tagalog and English) in Manila. I thought teaching English to toddlers would be a better fit for my skill set.
No Borders allows it’s teachers to be better as people and as professionals. It starts out as a job to pay your bills but ends up being a labor of love when you see your kids do wonders because of your help and guidance.
There is nothing better than going to your workplace everyday and seeing familiar faces that you trust and have fun with. Oh, and we’re a preschool, so being able to dress up and be silly and get paid for it is a very big bonus.”
“No Borders is a fantastic place to work. Unlike a lot of companies they really listen to their employees ideas and respect their opinions if any one has a particular idea or talent they put them in a position to realize it. There’s a real sense of family at this company which is probably why we’re so good it teaching children!
People here work so hard and go so above and beyond what is expected of them and why wouldn’t they? After all we have the best job there is!”
“I’ve worked for No Borders for three years, and they’ve helped me through all sorts of situations that arise in expatriate life. Being half-way across the world from your family can be very lonely at times, but No Borders truly has become my family in Japan.
With the support of the company and the close relationships I share with my students and their families, I’ve found a great sense of community so far away from everything I once knew as home.”
So there you have it. Throughout my visit, I was impressed with how NBIS combined the resources and professionalism of a Big Company with a personal feel and friendly attitude. If you would like to know more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.